LAYTON -- Syracuse survived a titanic comeback by Northridge on Tuesday evening.
With the real possibility of losing this crucial road game after blowing a big lead, the Titans weathered the storm and made clutch plays down the stretch to capture a key 53-51 Region 1 victory over the Knights.
"I proud of the way we withstood their charge and overcame it," Syracuse coach Justin Nelson said. "These kind of things happen on the road (and) the kids bent but they did not break. It's tough to deal with the emotion and the gym going crazy, but the kids stepped up and rose to the challenge."
Giving up their entire 10-point third quarter advantage by the 3:34 mark of the fourth stanza, the Titans went on a 10-4 run, with senior guard Diante Mitchell scoring seven (on a steal, a drive and three free throws) during the streak.
"My teammates got me the ball in open positions," Mitchell said. "I've been in a slump the last couple of games, but my shot felt good tonight. I try to not be one dimensional, which makes it harder to defend me. I'm just happy with the win tonight."
Mitchell scored 30 points overall, with 20 coming in the second half, including four 3-pointers and 4-of-5 from the charity stripe, while Michael Phelps added nine.
The Titans' lead vacillated between two, three and four points during the closing minute and they survived a desperation 3-point shot at the buzzer to split the season series with the Knights.
"We stayed aggressive offensively and didn't compound our mistakes," Nelson said. "We went after it and played to win rather than playing not to lose."
The Knights scored 27 points in the fourth quarter to make it interesting, but single digit lapses of seven and five in the second and third periods left them short in the end.
"Last game at our place they lit us up offensively, so we made defense a point of emphasis. We made an adjustment, played hard and rebounded the ball. This was a good road win and a step forward for us tonight," Nelson said.
Northridge was led by Davy Adams, who tossed in 15 points, including a trio of 3-pointers, while Preston Christensen checked in with 13 points.